Why is network TV still *so* awful while the rest (cable, streaming) gets better and better?

Actually, I don’t even agree with that headline up top.

Yes, streaming allows me to find entertainment worth watching. In a sense, because the whole WWWeb offers the best creative possibilities in the world. It’s a lot of work to sort out the cream from the crap; but, I take the time to do it every month, every few weeks.

Frankly, I feel that cable has dribbled away to the same bottom-feeding level of mediocrity that networks continue to offer the great American public. That’s an echo from the past for me. I moved my creative brain in with the hipsters of the 50’s and 60’s – seeing exactly the same level of crap telecommunications we face, now. The only difference is the range and breadth of useless crap offered has grown. 60 years later. There’s obviously enough money to be made from mediocrity to feed American consumers what they’re used to, what they believe to be “the best in the world”. That common American delusion.

Streaming allows me the 2 hours or so I allocate every evening for TV entertainment. We still have a number of talented writers, producers, directors, actors. They make our movies – which often approach greatness. Not all, of course. But, a healthy sample. They produce seasonal – and standalone – productions for television. They’re relatively easy to add to the mix I keep track of to watch. But, basic cable TV programing is no better than OTA crap…IMHO, nowadays.

I have to subscribe to at least a “basic” package to have cable access to the Web. I chose one with lots of channels. 60 or 70. Excepting a movie or series I find somewhere on the Web … excepting the few channels carrying foreign or domestic “football” [what my fellow Americans call “soccer”] … I watch 4 channels: CNN news, MSNBC news, CBS news, BloombergTV news. They’re on and off over the day. The last thing I check out before turning off the TV and moving to my study to finish the day online. After I’ve watched a movie or a series of choice … found online from the search function on APPLETV+, AMAZONTV+, bits and pieces from a few others. For the 2 hours or so I allocate.

Yup. Been here before. Up, down or sideways, it’s the same as it ever was.

Ed Campbell

I started watching “Dark Winds”, last night…

I pretty much love it. I don’t miss the rez; just some of the folks I knew. The kind of folks who love this desert land and the people who really are part of it. But, I still have a fair piece of that land handy.

Aside from the mountain ranges which are likely to be populated by tourists or Anglos like me, I have the Caja del Rio. 84,000 acres of mostly nothing but Southwestern-style desert wilderness. Just the other side of our valley. It stretches from here, just West of Santa Fe, all the way over and into Arizona. I love it.

Anyway, “Dark Winds“. Written, directed, produced in the Navajo Nation is a truly accurate representation of life there as I have ever seen. Spoken mostly in Dine…with subtitles. Dead accurate as far as my memory goes. I have to wonder if most Anglos, most Americans will get it. Or care to.

This is a different culture, people living in a different time. Questions and their solutions often don’t match anything in your life’s experience, folks. And as much of a fan as I am of what can be achieved with moving images and foreign languages…or English…the step away from American TV may be too much for too many to get this drama to a second season.

Me? I’m not going to miss an episode. Wouldn’t mind missing some of the commercials; but, that’s also the American kind of TV it is. Casting, acting, every kind of production value is up to standard. Though I manage most of what I watch on my living room’s Big Flat TV on the corner table so as to escape a great deal of the crap we’re told is necessary to fund production of independent stories on the screen. I guess I can put up with it to watch a tale that needs to be seen.

Ed Campbell

Ukraine’s Foreign Legion fights back in Sievierodonetsk

Russian forces advanced deep into the ruined eastern factory city of Sievierodonetsk, but Ukrainian troops were still holding out on Friday (June 3) as Russia’s assault on its neighbour entered its 100th day.

Members of Ukraine’s foreign legion arrived in Sievierodonetsk on Thursday (June 2) getting ready to join the battle.

Zurab Kakalidze is a 22-year-old member of Ukraine’s foreign legion, which is made of foreign fighters who volunteer to come to Ukraine and fight against the Russians. He said he felt he was on the right side of history. He and his fellow fighters were optimistic to see their families again and wanted to make sure the enemy would not, he added.

Ukraine’s defence minister said his troops were already training in Europe to operate new, advanced missile systems pledged this week by the United States and Britain, which Kyiv hopes will help swing the battle in its favour in coming weeks.

You have to wonder what Putin hopes to acquire long-term. Captured territories don’t exactly settle into peace and quiet.

Boeing Starliner (finally) limps into orbit

Engineers at Boeing can let out a big sigh of relief.

The defense contractor’s much-delayed Starliner spacecraft finally made its way into stable orbit Thursday evening, after launching atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida, the culmination of years of setbacks and complications.

But even in the course of that small victory, not everything went according to plan. Two of Starliner’s thrusters didn’t fire as planned just over 30 minutes into the flight. One thruster only managed to provide orbital insertion thrust for a single second. Its backup fired for 25 seconds before also giving up.

Fortunately, a third backup thruster was able to heave Starliner into stable orbit.

Boeing claims everything went as planned.

Tesla Cybertruck Close up

Have to admit I hadn’t realized this critter is a full size 4-door pickup truck. The photos I’ve seen didn’t do a proper job of illustrating the actual size. Makes it even more interesting now that Elon Musk has put an end to the rumors of Tesla discontinuing progress towards production of this model. After all, pickups are the leading category of automotive models in the GOUSA. If Tesla is to compete broadly in the marketplace, it must offer models in as many important categories as practical.